Steve Pope Barbel Fishing

Catch more barbel!


3rd January – First Fishing trip of 2016, Happy New Year, Bottoms Up!
Newland Hall, Brook Lake, the weather forecast is mostly cloudy, 23 mph winds in a south, south easterly direction. Temperature 12 degrees.
I make Howard stop the van on route so I can take a photograph of the beautiful red sky and sunrise.
Last night, Howard had not only checked out the weather report but also a map of the lake showing different depths. On the map which he had studied at length, he had also found the perfect swim for us to fish from with no trees for me to snag on and plenty of room to pitch our bivvy.
Upon arrival, the car park was already half full so we wasted no time to head for swim 46. Alas, this was already taken, as was the swim next to it and the one after that. He huffed and puffed a little as he heaved his well laden barrow into first gear to negotiate the muddy slope. Swims 36 & 37 perfect, just a few lads fishing on the opposite bank. So we unload and settle down. Howard has suggested I try a hair rig on my line, this is a tiny elastic band that hold some extra bait in place so the fish gets two bites of the cherry one on the hook the other in the band. Seemed like a plan so I go with it. Howard on the other hand who is method fishing mixes up a concoction of ground bait with tuttie fruitie glug, salmon paste, 2ml pellets, hemp, sweetcorn, custard powder and Worcester sauce. I think he had been watching too much professional master chef or Robson Green on TV.  Anyway, I watch him squeeze a mish mash of these ingredients into a tiny silicon method feeder mould, then cast his line out about 30 feet. “I’ve put a reel clip on it” he says smugly. I haven’t a clue what he is talking about but decide it is best not to ask lest he spends the next 10 minutes explaining it to me. So we sit back and make ourselves comfortable. “Coffee” I ask, “Hmm good idea” Now I should really go a bit easy on the fluids as we got up quite early and I already had 3 cups before leaving home, never mind the steam merged with the early morning mist and the aroma filled the air, what a perfect morning.
Clatter, crash, thud, more clatter “What are you doing” I ask, tranquillity well and truly broken, “I read that you should reel in and rebait every 5 minutes” he says “Did you also read not to make so much noise that you frighten the fish” I peck. Howard ignores me and continues to scoop, shake and add more water to a huge bucket full of bait which is quickly drying out.

“Oh, looks like a drop of rain” he says “Just a passing shower”.

‘Red sky in morning-shepherds warning’. The rain was torrential, I sunk further back in my chair deep into the nest of our bivvy. “This was well worth the money wasn’t it” observes Howard, I pour yet more coffee and slurp greedily the hot drink. “No more for me thanks” refuses Howard when I offer him yet another cup, so I down the last of it.

Howard has cast about nine times now, each cast with fresh bait of the same mix. “One of us is sure to get a bite soon” He groans hopefully. Personally, I am not leaving the warm dry bivvy to re cast, no way. In any event, I haven’t even seen the tip of the float since Howard told me it was at one o’ clock like I was a kamikaze pilot or something.

The lads on the opposite bank start to pack up and I have been wriggling in my seat trying to ward off the inevitable effects of six cups of coffee in such a short space of time. This is a difficult thing to do when you are A) surrounded by water B) when water is pouring down from the sky and C) when you have so many clothes on that it would be a veritable challenge for even Kate Moss to get quickly out of her clothes down to her undies on a top modelling shoot.

Time passes and the rain starts to ease up a little, we are treated to a spectacular show of a fabulous show off carp leaping and prancing in and out of the water. I did manage to take a photo but unfortunately, the shutter speed seems to be on slow so I did not catch the whole mid-air flip.  Howard says he will have a look at it later for me and reminds me of his time as a member of the local photographic club.

My bladder is now becoming rather uncomfortable but I whistle and try and think of something else.

“Howard, I need you to come to the toilet with me soon” “What?” says Howard “Why can’t you go by yourself?” “I need you to stand guard out the front, I don’t know if the door locks”. “We are not allowed to leave our fishing gear unattended” says Howard. I shut up and watch a robin bravely approach me to pinch a stray kernel of sweetcorn from when I had tried unsuccessfully to throw it around my float to keep the swim fed.

Ah, that’s it, I can try out the catapult. I load it with sweetcorn and pull the elastic back in a Robin Hood type fashion. Too near… batch…..too far… batch – all over the platform – don’t even ask me how. Howard shoots me a sideways glance that shouts ‘useless’ at me. I settle back down to watch Howard re-cast for the umpteenth time.

10 minutes later, “That’s it” announces Howard, “Lets pack up”. For these words, I am truly grateful.

Now once I start moving the urge to pee is overwhelming, “Howard, I have got to wee NOW! Off with my jacket, Off with my gilet, Down with my braces, Oh god, why have I got two pair of trousers on.. “What on earth are you doing” bellows Howard looking around furtively “You can’t go here!” I can’t help it, I HAVE to” “Ok Ok get yourself round here behind this bush” I half hop and wiggle out of my strides and squat, sorry but there really was nothing else for it. Oh bliss.


Thankfully no one was around to see that there was a full moon

Final Result…Howard Nil – Di -Nil







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